When the Romans finally conquered the northern provinces of Wales back around 77AD, they built a timber fort on the hill overlooking the Menai Straits and named it after the nearby river they called ‘sego’, meaning vigorous, the name has since evolved into Seiont
The fort was intended to hold a garrison of 1,000 auxiliary infantry, and was the main command post for the Romans in North Wales. It was rebuilt in stone during the first part of the 2nd century, and remained a manned garrison for over 300 years, longer than any other in Wales.
In the present day, the A4085 runs through the old fort grounds, and modern housing surrounds the area, but the remains of the original construction have been largely preserved. The town of Caernarfon derives its name from ‘Caer yn ar-Fon’, loosely translated “fort in the land opposite the river”, and the fort is only about a mile from Caernarfon’s town centre.
The museum attached to the old fort now holds fascinating artifacts found in and around the site, including the remains of a native hamlet on the outskirts. The museum is managed by Segontium Cyf, an independent trust.
Visitors can actually enter the historic fortification and get a close-up view of what life was like for the ancient inhabitants. Here you can get a good picture of this period in Welsh history; it is the only site in Wales that shows the interior layout of a Roman Auxiliary Fort.
In sheer area and antiquity, Segontium Fort outranks the famous Caernarfon Castle. The fort was built approximately 1,000 years prior to the castle, and the whole of the huge and imposing castle could fit inside its walls. It was considered a remote outpost during its active years, but it is now a very popular attraction for visitors to the area.